I will be doing these TV shows in order along with the MSG and other arena stuff.
Championship Wrestling 1/28/84
Your Announcers are Vince McMahon and Gene Okerlund
Replay of Hulk Hogan vs. Iron Sheik at MSG on 1/23/84 shown in its entirety. For the record, I reviewed that show last week using the WWE 24/7 version, which replaced Hogan’s actual theme music for that match (“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor) with his “Real American” theme song.
Bill Dixon vs. Tito Santana
Dixon is a fat guy in a singlet with a beard. Dixon gets in some brief offense before Tito blocks a hiptoss. After a back drop, Tito comes back with a dropkick then finishes with the flying forearm (1:17) NR.
Thoughts: A bit surprised that Santana sold that much for such a short squash.
Steve Lombardi & SD Jones vs. Wild Samoans w/Capt. Lou Albano
Samula is not here. Afa beats on Lombardi as Vince reads a fan mail question from Iowa addressed to Okerlund about which tag-team could compete for the title. Okerlund answers by stating there are many teams then goes quiet, completely ignoring the poor prick’s question. Lombardi then gets kicked out of the ring and Afa follows him outside then rams him into the post. SD comes over and walks the injured Lombardi to the locker room. SD then comes back into the ring and hits the Samoans with the double noggin knocker before getting knocked down. Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas run out for the save but the Samoans clean house before Capt. Lou walks them to the back. The referee rules that the Samoans win by DQ due to outside interference (4:06) NR.
Thoughts: This was all about advancing the feud between the Samoans and the champions. The Samoans came out of this looking a lot stronger than the champs. For those who don’t know, Steve Lombardi became the Brooklyn Brawler in the late 1980’s.
Gene Okerlund brings out the Tag champs. Rocky says they are fed up with the Samoans as Atlas barely speaks English in some rambling promo where he proclaims that he is white, black, blue and American. Anyway, the crowd ate it up so it worked.
Vince encourages fans to write a letter so there question can get answered on air. Maybe if you aren’t from Iowa, Okerlund will actually answer your question.
Victory Corner host Robert DeBord welcomes Roddy Piper. DeBord is aguy who looks to be in his late 30’s and wears glasses. He says that Victory Magazine will now be called WWF Magazine. He then says that a new article, Piper’s Pit, will be appearing in the magazine. Piper grabs the mic and then calls out DeBord for being “Stupid,” stating how he doesn’t have the guts to stand up to anyone then says how he will ask questions that he has the guts to ask and that when he will talk, people will listen. Great segment by Piper. He had the crowd loudly against him at the end when they weren’t very responsive in the beginning. Also, they were shifting away from the old WWF. No more of the face announcer sucking up to the other faces and being afraid of the heels. The heel interviewer was a fresh concept in 1984.
Frankie Williams vs. Greg Valentine w/Capt. Lou Albano
Williams is a fat, middle-aged jobber. The ring announcer notes that this is Valentine’s first apeearance in a “very long time.” This is actually Valentine’s first WWF appearance in a few years. Valentine starts with a takedown. He gets a Russian leg sweep then beats the piss out of Williams. Valentine works the leg and drops a knee to the groin. Okerlund mentions how there has been a lot of changes in the WWF over the past few weeks as Valentine hits a suplex then finishes with the figure four leglock (2:12) NR.
Thoughts: Good squash match. Valentine looked great and it made for an effective return. The crowd acted legitimately surprised to see Valentine walk through the curtains.
Tony Garea vs. Paul Orndorff w/Roddy Piper
Crowd with a very loud “Paula” chant. The crowd is also throwing trash in the ring. Orndorff starts by beating on Garea but misses a charge in the corner. Orndorff sells the arm and Garea goes to work. Orndorff gets free and hits a slam but misses an elbow drop. Garea goes back to work on the arm but Orndorff counters with a waistlock suplex. Okerlund begins to read a telegram from Bob Backlund congratulating Hogan on his title win. This is like the 80’s version of a Tout I guess. Piper distracts Garea, allowing Orndorff to hit him from behind with a running knee. Orndorff heads up top and gets the flying knee drop for the win (2:40) NR.
Thoughts: Despite the fact Orndorff probably shouldn’t need help putting away Tony Garea, this match further strengthened Orndorff and Piper as a heel duo. The crowd absolutely hates them both, especially Orndorff. The “Paula” chants are abundant.
B. Brian Blair vs. Charlie Fulton
This is Blair’s WWF debut. Fulton is a jobber with dyed blond hair and a black beard. He is wearing blue trunks. Blair takes him over with a headlock and does some basic matwork. He gets Fulton down with a drop toehold and the two then exchange hammerlocks. Fulton eventually gains the advantage and works the arm. Blair comes back with some forearms and then a back suplex. He gets a snapmare and an elbow smash. Blair puts Fulton in an abdominal stretch and turns it into a crucifix for the pin (3:07) NR
Thoughts: Not too exciting of a debut by Blair, who didn’t show much charisma. The wrestling was basic but Blair was fluid in the ring.
McMahon runs down next week’s card featuring Andre the Giant & Tito Santana vs. Mr. Fuji & Masked Superstar as the main event.
Final Thoughts: The main theme of this show was change. With Valentine being re-introduced, The “Piper’s Pit” segment being established, and the debut of Blair along with the replay of Hogan’s title win and frequent mentions of him throughout the broadcast, you got a sense that the WWF was really trying to become something more than a wrestling organization based in the Northeast. This show also brought me back to my childhood (I was 2 years old when this show aired) as I remember that even in the late 80’s, they would have the voiceover plug the upcoming house shows during the match. Right before the commercial breaks, they would go out playing “Top 40 music.” Overall, the show was fun and worth watching for the Piper stuff alone.
All-Star Wrestling 1/28/84
Your announcers are Vince McMahon and Gene Okerlund.
Full replay of the Hulk Hogan vs. Iron Sheik match from 1/23/84 at the MSG is shown in its entirety.
Masked Superstar vs. Steve Lombardi
Superstar pounds on Lombardi then sends him outside with a running knee smash. He drags him back in the ring then knocks him down with a headbutt. He hits a clothesline setting him up for the swinging neckbreaker scoring the victory (2:09) NR
Thoughts: Dominating squash by the Superstar. The announcers spent most of the time putting over Hogan’s title win though. Superstar was a good worker but seemed to be getting phased out here.
Ken Jugan vs. Greg Valentine w/Capt. Lou Albano
Jugan is dressed similarly to “Nacho Libre” without the mask and looks to weigh about 165lbs. Valentine gets a backbreaker and gutbuster on Jugan before tossing him to the floor. Albano rolls him off the apron but Valentine sends him back to the floor with a forearm. Back in the ring, Valentine gets a slam and an armbar. He gets another slam as Vince reads a fan letter from a guy who says that he was a fan of Orndorff in Georgia and thinks the fans aren’t showing him the proper respect he deserves. Albano yells out “hurt him” and Valentine locks in the figure four leglock for the win (2:48) NR.
Thoughts: Another dominating squash by Valentine. He has looked great so far in his return.
Tonga Kid vs. Bill Dixon
Kid gets a drop toehold and goes to work on the legs. Dixon lands a few shots and gets a backdrop. Tonga rolls through a clothesline attempt and comes back with a sunset flip for the win (3:31) MR. After the match, Dixon tries a sneak attack but Tonga slugs away and finishes him off with a dropkick.
Thoguhts: Boring match. Tonga looked strong, which was important. I thought they should have let him use athletic moves instead of basic matwork as he was in great shape. Tonga would later be known as “Tama” and was part of the Islanders tag team. He was much lighter here.
Charlie Fulton vs. B. Brian Blair
What a treat the WWF gave the wrestling world on January 28, 1984 with two Blair/Fulton matches airing on the same day. They start with some matwork. Blair gets a hiptoss then catches Fulton with an armdrag. Blair eventually knocks down Fulton before catching him with the abdominal stretch into a crucifx for the pin (2:32) NR.
Thoughts: Not much different than the previous match. Blair has not really impressed in his first two matches.
Replay of the last Victory Corner segment with Roddy Piper from Championship Wrestling.
Tito Santana vs. Bob Bradley
Tito gets an armdrag and continues to work the arm. Bradley gets slammed and begs for mercy. Bradley lands a knee but Tito gets him over with a fireman’s carry. Bradley ends up catching Tito with a shoulderblock but Tito gets a leapfrog then finishes with the flying forearm (3:42) NR.
Thoughts: Basic squash match from Tito, who the announcers questioned whether he would go for the tag-titles with a new partner or focus on the Intercontinental Title.
Frankie Williams & Jose Luis Rivera vs. Mr. Fuji & Tiger Chung Lee
Lee and Rivera start out. Lee chops him down and gets two off of a headlock takeover as Okerlund attempts to get him over by stating how he was a master at “Kung Fu” along with every other style that would fall under martial arts. Lee works the arm and the heels use quick tags. Rivera backs Lee into his corner and tags Williams, who lands a few punches before getting destroyed. Lee uses the nerve pinch on Williams for a long time until he breaks the hold. He gets a backdrop and finishes the match with a backbreaker (4:44) NR.
Thoughts: This went on a bit longer than it should have. Lee worked most of the match. He wasn’t a terrible worker but did not possess any star-like qualities at all. Fuji barely even entered the ring.
Eddie Gilbert vs. Butcher Vachon
Gilbert had returned from a real-life car accident not too long after this bout. They locked up but Vachon kept on grabbing the ropes to bide time. He did this for a while. Eventually, Vachon lands a few shots. He then rakes the back of Gilbert before hitting several of the softest, most pathetic looking double axehandles I’ve ever seen. These look like they couldn’t put down a toddler. Vachon then gets a nerve hold and breaks that to hit more of his shitty looking axehandles. Gilbert gets a slam and lands a few shots. Vachon charges but Gilbert dodges the attack and Vachon hits the mat. Gilbert then looks down and covers Vachon for the win (3:40) NR.
Thoughts: This match was totally ineffective. Vachon was awful in the ring and Gilbert got a fluky win, making both men look bad in the process.
Thoughts: A weaker show than Championship Wrestling. The commentary was continuously putting over Hogan (They referred to him as “Incredible” Hulk Hogan, which was his actual nickname when he first started) and frequently mentioning all of the new talent that was coming into the WWF. The squash matches weren’t very good, with the exception being Valentine destroy his opponent. Still, the WWF was making it known that the changes were not stopping anytime soon.